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Infantes, Pedro

INFANTE, Pedro



Nationality: Mexican. Born: Pedro Infante Cruz in Mazatlán, November-December 1917. Family: Married María Luisa León (divorced—but divorce not recognized in Mexican courts); had two children with Lupita Torrentera; lived with Irma Dorantes. Career: Left school after fourth grade and worked as errand boy and carpenter; 1939—singer of rancheras on Radio Station XEB in Mexico City; 1942—film debut as extra; 1947—role in Nosotros los pobres made him a celebrity. Awards: Mexican Ariele Awards, 1955 and 1956; Best Actor, Berlin Festival, for Tizoc, 1957. Died: In plane crash in Mérida, 15 April 1956.


Films as Actor:

1942

La feria de las flores (Benavides); Jesusita en Chihuahua (Cardona) (as Valentin Terraza); La razón de la culpa (Ortega) (as Roberto)

1943

Arriba las mujeres (Orellana) (as Chuy); Cuando habla el corazón (Segura); El Ametralladora (Castillo) (as Salvador Pérez Gómez "El Ametralladora"); Mexicanos al grito de guerra (Gálvez Fuentes) (as Luis Sandoval); Viva mi desgracia (Rodríguez) (as Ramón Pineda)

1944

Escándalo de estrellas (Rodríguez) (as Ricardo del Valle y Rosales)

1945

Cuandolloran los valientes (Rodríguez) (as Agapito Treviño "Caballo Blanco")

1946

Si me han de matar manaña (Zacarías) (as Ramiro); Los tres Garcia and Vuelen los Garcia (Rodríguez) (as Luis Antonio Garcia)

1947

La barca de oro (Paradavé) (as Lorenzo); Soy charro de Rancho Grande (Paradavé) (as Paco Aldama); Nosotros los pobres (Rodríguez) (as Pepe "El Toro"); Cartas marcadas (Cardona) (as Manuel)

1948

Los tres huastecos (Rodríguez) (as Lorenzo, Victor, and Juan de Dios Andrade); Angelitos negros (Rodríguez) (as José Carlos); Ustedes los ricos (Rodríguez) (as Pepe "El Toro"); Dicen que soy mujeriego (Rodríguez) (as Pedro)

1949

El seminarista (Rodríguez) (as Miguel Morales); La mujer que yo perdí (Rodríguez) (as Pedro Montaño); La oveja negra and No desearás la mujer de tu hijo (Rodríguez) (as Silvano)

1950

Sobre las olas (Rodríguez) (as Juventino Rosas); Tambíen de dolor se canta (Cardona) (as Braulio Peláez); Islas Marias (Fernandez) (as Felipe); El gavilán pollero (González) (as José Inocencio Meléndez "El Gavilán"); Las mujers de mi general (Rodríguez) (as General Juan Zepeda)

1951

Necesito dinero (Zacarías) (as Manuel); A toda máquina and ¿Qué te ha dado esa mujer? (Rodríguez) (as Pedro Chávez); Ahi viene Martin Corona and El enamorado (Zacarías) (as Martin Corona)

1952

Un rincón cerca del cielo and Ahora soy rico (González) (as Pedro González); Por ellas aunque mal paguen (Oro) (as himself); Los hijos de Maria Morales (de Fuentes) (as Pepe Morales); Dos tipos de cuidado (Rodríguez) (as Pedro Malo); Ansiedad (Zacarías) (as Rafael—father and son); Pepe El Toro (Rodríguez) (title role)

1953

Reportaje (Fernández) (as Damian); Gitana tenias que ser (Baledón) (as Pablo Mendoza)

1954

Cuidado con el ser (Baledón) (as Salvador Allende); Cuidado con el amor (Zacarías) (as Salvador Allende); El mil amores (González) (as Bibiano Villarreal); Escuela de vagabundos (González) (as Alberto Medina); La vida no vale nada (González) (as Pablo Galván); Pueblo, canto, y esperanza (González) (as Lencho Jiménez); Los Gavilanes (Oroná) (as Juan Menchaca)

1955

Escuela de música (Zacarías) (as Javier Prado); La tercera palabra (Soler) (as Pablo Saldaña); El inocente (González) (as Cutberto Gaudázar "Cruci"); Pablo y Carolina (de la Serna) (as Pablo Garza)

1956

Tizoc (Rodríguez) (title role); Escuela de rateros (González) (as Raúl Cuesta Hernández and Victor Valdés)



Publications


On INFANTE: books—

Riera, Emilio García, Historia documental del cine mexicano, vols. 2–6, Mexico, 1970–74.

Blanco, Jorge Ayala, La aventura del cine mexicano, Mexico, 1979.

Mora, Carl J., Mexican Cinema: Reflections of a Society 1896–1980, Berkeley, California, 1982.

Blanco, Jorge Ayala, La búsqueda del cine mexicano, Mexico City, 1986.

Blanco, Jorge Ayala, La condición del cine mexicano, Mexico City, 1986.


On INFANTE: article—

De la Colina, José, "La gran familia del cine mexicano: Pedro Infante," in Dicine (Mexico City), October 1987.

* * *

Some 30 years after his death, Pedro Infante, the unrivaled idol of Mexican film, remains alive in the culture of Latin America. More a personality than an actor, it could be said that Infante essentially played himself on the screen: an open, uncomplicated, and sincere representative of the people. His most memorable roles cast him as an urban worker or a rural charro, the Mexican cowboy. In contrast to the icy distance of similar male actors such as Jorge Negrete or Pedro Armendáriz, Infante recognized and reveled in the audience's presence, often looking directly into the camera, winking and laughing, while singing his rancheras. He charmed everyone but the bad guys as he sang and acted his way through screen vehicles usually constructed around him. Directors, co-stars, and scriptwriters were of secondary importance; everyone from Tierra del Fuego to the Rio Grande went to see Pedro.

Although he demonstrated his acting skills by playing multiple roles in several films, he was at his best in the male-bonding movies such as Dos tipos de cuidado ("Two wild and crazy guys") A toda máquina ("Full speed ahead"), and ¿Qué te ha dado esa mujer? ("What did that woman give you?"). In Dos tipos Infante pointed to the primacy of the male-male relationship in machismo when he compared treachery by a woman and a man: "When a woman betrays us, well, we forgive her—because finally she's a woman. But, when we're betrayed by the man we think is our best friend—ay, Chihuahua—that really hurts." In Dicen que soy mujeriego ("They say I'm a womanizer"—a reference to Infante's off-screen exploits), Infante undercuts the expectation created by the film's title that a typically macho attitude towards women would be displayed. Instead he suggested that it is more virile to suffer than to cause suffering, dolefully complaining, "They say I'm a womanizer who plays around, but I feel lonely."

A folk hero who could be tender or sentimental without compromising his masculine image, Infante met his end in the flamboyant manner that gives meaning to such a character. He felt that although his first wife had made him an actor, God had made him a pilot. Other flyers demurred, describing him as "loco"—a judgment confirmed by several near-fatal crashes prior to the final one. His funeral was a tumultuous event, complete with thousands of mourners, the leading stars of Mexican cinema, and mariachi bands. He is still the idol of the popular classes: his films are shown weekly on Mexican television, his records sell widely, and some 10,000 people attended an event commemorating the 25th anniversary of his death. The vitality of Pedro Infante—his style, grace, and charm—has not lost its allure.

—John Mraz

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